Adam San Miguel wants the Cuban-American diaspora to support the community by defining what engagement means for them.
adam san miguel CAALE
Adam San Miguel is the Executive Director of CAALE.

Startup Cuba had a chance to sit down and connect with CAALE founder Adam San Miguel about what’s happening in Cuba, how the #SOSCUBA protests sparked on July 11th have brought alignment (initially), and his passionate call to action for all Cuban-Americans to define what engagement means for them. We also had a chance to chat about things we Cuban-Americans usually don’t speak about in public like What Cuban-Americans really want and what we think about people that don’t get it? (see video). 

As founder of CAALE, The Cuban American Alliance for Leadership and Education, Googler, U.S. Coast Guard Reservist, and father, Adam’s Instagram tagline sums up his motto in life “EL QUE QUIERE, PUEDE” (He who wants, can).

“We are investing and betting on the future generations that will continue the work that will have to be done.”

Adam San Miguel

When you think of the Cuban Diaspora in the United States, first to mind is always Miami, but for those of us who know, there’s nothing like the Jersey Cubans. They carry that same passion, drive and charisma that are typical characteristics of successful Cuban-Americans, but with the swag of someone who claims to be from New York City! Adam is all this and a bag of tostones.

Video: CAALE Founder and Exec. Director, Adam San Miguel talks about July 11th, Biden’s policies and taking the long view to engagement.

Despite his passion as a leader and strong voice at the New Jersey protests, he shares the same excitement and trepidation that many Cuban-Americans continue experiencing as they observe what is happening in Cuba from afar. “Anyone who follows Cuba, knows…Cuba will not change from one day to the next” he continues, “How do we take this (unity of protests) and put it into meaningful action?”

CAALE Cuban American Alliance for Leadership and Education
CAALE: Cuban American Alliance for Leadership and Education.

Adam personally acknowledges the importance of protesting and showing support for those demanding change on the Island, but at CAALE, he’s playing the long game with focus on developing a pipeline of tomorrow’s Cuban-American leaders. “We are investing and betting on the future generations that will continue the work that will have to be done” he says. CAALE’s mission is to solely support and develop college-age, recently arrived or U.S.- born Cuban- Americans through merit-based college scholarships, leadership development, and cultural education.

Whether it’s making a donation, supporting a non-profit, or starting your own organization, this is a call to action for us (here) to get involved in ways that will support a better vision Cuba right now…

This is a call to action for all Cuban-American to decide for themselves.

In Cuba, “This watershed moment showed that a large portion of the Cuban people want a different social contract” and as a government (Cuba) needs to “address it.” Here in the U.S., the #SOSCUBA movement is a call for the diaspora to take action on this passion. Whether it’s making a donation, supporting a non-profit, or starting your own organization, this is a call to action for us (here) to get involved in ways that will support a better vision Cuba right now – 

“Punto y se acabo.”

Related Post: 21 Social Media Accounts You Should Follow To Stay Connected to Cuba

Adam San Miguel swearing in Coast Guard

EVENT ALERT: To support and learn more about CAALE, August 21st is their 4th Annual Gala, which has actually turned into a huge Block Party in front of Rumba Cubana in Guttenberg, NJ. Guest of honor will be none other than Cuban artist, Yotuel, who’s song sparked the movement “Patria y Vida.” He is the recipient of CAALE’s  Marti Award. The event will award and celebrate three deserving high school seniors with $10,000 College Scholarships.  For information and tickets visit eventbrite.

Full Disclosure: This article was written by a “Jersey Cuban”

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Zuzy Martin-Aly is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Startup Cuba. She's an award-winning filmmaker, producer and writer with a passion for bringing voice to stories that need to be told. Zuzy’s family came to the Elizabeth, NJ from Cuba in the 1960s. Her award-winning documentary film, Craving Cuba, explores what it means to be American and the complicated relationship that Cuban Americans have historically had with Cuba. The documentary was accepted into 13 film festivals, winning awards for best documentary feature and editing. Zuzy often speaks across the country on the topic of identity. She was invited to speak at the United Nations about the importance of exploring identity and finding one’s voice through the power of independent film. She is working on several creative projects including recently co-creating Two Cuban Girls and a Bald Guy with StartupCuba and Verv.tv, a travel series with a focus on Latin America aimed at building bridges, breaking down stereotypes, and inspiring people across communities.

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